'Sheed on the future: 'We can be scary'

The surprising Knicks have run out to their first 3-0 start since the 1999-2000 season. Howard Smith/US Presswire

PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Woodson looked like a guy who had everybody fooled on Monday night.

The Knicks coach had just led his team -- one dismissed by many as a non-factor entering the season -- to its third straight win to open the year.

A few minutes after the final buzzer, someone asked Woodson if he had anything to worry about.

"Not at all," the coach said with a wide grin.

And why would he?

Woodson has led the Knicks to their first 3-0 start in 13 years. His team has won its first three games by 16 points or more -- the first time in franchise history New York has won its first three games by double digits.

And they've done so against the defending champion Miami Heat and a tough, if somewhat depleted, 76ers team.

"We’re just buying into what coach Woodson wants," Carmelo Anthony said.

So far, it's working.

The Knicks bounced back from an early 12-2 deficit behind stellar play from Anthony and Ray Felton, who combined for 25 first-half points, as the Knicks took an eight-point lead into the locker room.

"We’re not going to get rattled by a situation like that," Tyson Chandler said of the Knicks' early deficit. "When they went up and they came and threw that early punch, we knew it was coming. ... We got comfortable and then kind of took over the game."

The Knicks reeled off a 23-9 run to end the first quarter and never looked back. They outscored the Sixers by 13 in the third and went up by as many as 24 in the second half.

But the key, once again, was on the defensive end.

The Knicks held Philly to 33.7 percent shooting Monday, and have kept all three of their opponents under the 90-point mark.

"You do it like that on the road," Woodson said, "That's pretty good."

Since Woodson took over for Mike D'Antoni last season, the Knicks have been a different team on defense.

They went 18-6 to finish the regular season under Woodson, allowing five fewer points per game in that stretch than they had under D'Antoni.

Over the summer, Woodson and GM Glen Grunwald added players that fit Woodson's mold. That meant bringing in veterans like Jason Kidd (age 39), Marcus Camby (38), Kurt Thomas (40) and Rasheed Wallace (38) as well as the defensive-minded Ronnie Brewer.

"Everybody that's come in is starting to buy in," Woodson said. "And everybody that's come in can play."

Wallace, who had eight points (two 3-pointers) in an entertaining five-minute stretch in the third, thinks the Knicks have only started to scratch the surface.

"With the way we are, it’s just a matter of veteran guys just knowing how to play basketball," said Wallace, who came out of a two-year retirement at Woodson's request. "Once we do jell together, then ... hey, we can be scary."

Just how scary remains to be seen.

If the first three games of the season are any indication, the rest of the Eastern Conference may have something to worry about.

Woodson, however, does not.

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